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I was amazed at who I met, what I learned, and my big take-away money saving idea.
The 2012 ILCT Show held this week at the fabulous MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas exceeded all expectations for me. From the packed exhibit hall to the educational seminars and off-the-hook networking events, I was certainly not disappointed.
You could feel the energy in the air of the hotel upon arrival. As I stood in the hotel registration line on Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice hundreds of familiar faces patiently waiting to get their rooms as well. It almost had the feel of a homecoming or a pep rally. I saw people that had not been to a Show in years, such as my friend Wade Randolph who made the trip all the way from Baton Rouge.
As the days went by, it was apparent there were a few thousand Show attendees all sporting their ILCT badges. There were people from many countries that traveled from around the globe to attend this event. That was clearly evident at the International Operators Reception where a room designed to hold 300 people was at full capacity with operators mingling from Canada, Argentina, France and many other places, to name a few.
The Show floor had more vendors than I have seen in a long time, and many first-time vendors were there trying to connect with our industry in a time that is obviously seeing a major comeback, as new operators enter the business and old operators enter new eras of business. Many of the old-timers are adding buses to their fleets. There were clearly more buses than limousines; buses ranged from smaller models to motorcoaches in every type of conceivable floor plan imaginable.
People seemed to have a genuine interest in the educational aspect of the Show with many of the sessions being conducted in standing-room-only conference rooms. I take this as a sign that people want to learn how to operate better, more efficiently and with more focus on how to make money. The ideas to make money and the network connections were abundant. I came back on fire, ready to try new things and with a whole new set of goals.
If you missed out this year, then start saving for next year. I know that many people say it is expensive. Set a budget for yourself of $1,000 for next year’s Show. That is more than ample. Start stashing $20 a week right now in a shoe box, piggy bank or real bank.
For example, I learned one single thing in Miami operator Ron Sorci’s seminar that will save me an estimated $5,000 a year in credit card charges. That pays for the entire bill for my Show attendance. Whether you are looking to save money on your insurance premiums or learn how to manage your receivables better, there is something for everyone. Next year, be there or be a square wheel.
Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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